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# An Edusat Lecture on

by:PRASHANT SHAH
05-02-2014

## Lecturer Civil Engg.

HILLSIDE College of
Engineering,Balkumari

CONTOURING

## Contour An imaginary line on the ground

surface joining the points of equal elevation is
known as contour.
In other words, contour is a line in which the
ground surface is intersected by a level
surface obtained by joining points of equal
elevation. This line on the map represents a
contour and is called contour line.

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Contour Map
A map showing contour lines is known as
Contour map.
A contour map gives an idea of the altitudes of
the surface features as well as their relative
positions in plan serves the purpose of both, a
plan and a section.

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Contouring
The process of tracing contour lines on
the surface of the earth is called
Contouring.

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PURPOSE OF CONTOURING
Contour survey is carried out at the starting of
any engineering project such as a road, a
railway, a canal, a dam, a building etc.
i) For preparing contour maps in order to select
the most economical or suitable site.
ii) To locate the alignment of a canal so that it
iii) To mark the alignment of roads and railways
so that the quantity of earthwork both in
cutting and filling should be minimum.
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## PURPOSE OF CONTOURING (contd.)

iv) For getting information about the ground
whether it is flat, undulating or
mountainous.
v) To find the capacity of a reservoir and
volume of earthwork especially in a
mountainous region.
vi) To trace out the given grade of a particular
route.
vii)To locate the physical features of the ground
such as a pond depression, hill, steep or
small slopes.
CONTOURING

CONTOUR INTERVAL
The constant vertical distance between two
consecutive contours is called the contour
interval.
HORIZONTAL EQUIVALENT
The horizontal distance between any two
adjacent contours is called as horizontal
equivalent.
The contour interval is constant between
the consecutive contours while the horizontal
equivalent is variable and depends upon the
slope of the ground.
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## FACTORS ON WHICH CONTOUR

-INTERVAL DEPENDS
The contour interval depends upon the following
factors:i) The Nature of the Ground In flat and
uniformly sloping country, the contour
interval is small , but in broken and
mountainous region the contour interval
should be large otherwise the contours will
come too close to each other.
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## FACTORS ON WHICH CONTOUR

-INTERVAL DEPENDS
ii) The Purpose and extent of the survey.
Contour interval is small if the area to be
surveyed is small and the maps are required
to be used for the design work or for
determining the quantities of earth work etc.
while wider interval shall have to be kept for
large areas and comparatively less important
works.
CONTOURING

## FACTORS ON WHICH CONTOUR

-INTERVAL DEPENDS
iii) The Scale of the Map. The contour interval
should be in the inverse ratio to the scale of
the map i.e. the smaller the scale, the greater
is the contour interval.
iv) Time and Expense of Field and Office work.
The smaller the interval, the greater is the
amount of field-work and plotting work.
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## COMMON VALUES OF THE CONTOUR

-INTERVAL
The following are the common values of the
contour interval adopted for various purposes:i)

## For large scale maps of flat country, for

building sites, for detailed design work and
for calculation of quantities of earth work;
0.2 to 0.5 m.

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## COMMON VALUES OF THE CONTOUR

-INTERVAL
ii) For reservoirs and town planning schemes;
0.5 to 2m.
iii) For location surveys.

2 to 3m.

## iv) For small scale maps of broken country and

general topographic work; 3m,5m,10m,or
25m.
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CHARACTERISTICS OF CONTOURS
i)

## All points in a contour line have the same

elevation.
ii) Flat ground is indicated where the
contours are widely separated and steepslope where they run close together.
iii) A uniform slope is indicated when the
contour lines are uniformly spaced and
iv) A plane surface when they are straight,
parallel and equally spaced.
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CHARACTERISTICS OF CONTOURS
v) A series of
closed contour
lines on the
map represent
a hill , if the
higher values
are inside

80
75
70
65
60

HILL
60
65
70
75
80

A HILL

CHARACTERISTICS OF CONTOURS
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vi) A series of
closed contour
lines on the
map indicate a
depression if
the
higher
values
are
outside

75
70

DEPRESSION

65
60

70
60
65
70
75
80

A DEPRESSION

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CHARACTERISTICS OF CONTOURS
vii) Contour line cross ridge or valley line at
right angles.
100
If the higher
90
values are inside
80
the bend or loop
70
in the contour, it
60
indicates
a
50
Ridge.

RIDGE LINE

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CHARACTERISTICS OF CONTOURS
vii) Contour line cross ridge or valley line at
right angles.
If the higher
values are
100
outside the
90
bend,
it
80
represents
70
60
a Valley
50

VALLEY LINE

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CHARACTERISTICS OF CONTOURS
viii).
Contours cannot end anywhere but close on
themselves either within or outside the limits of
the map.

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CHARACTERISTICS OF CONTOURS
ix).
Contour lines cannot
merge or cross one
another on map
except in the case of
an overhanging cliff.

40
30
20
10

40

30 20 10

OVERHANGING CLIFF

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CHARACTERISTICS OF CONTOURS
x) Contour lines
50
never run into one
40
another except in
30
the case of a
20
vertical cliff. In
10
this case ,several
contours coincide
and the horizontal
equivalent becomes
zero.

VERTICA
CLIFF

10 20 30 40 5050

OVERHANGING CLIFF

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CHARACTERISTICS OF CONTOURS
X
Depressions
between summits is
represented by four
70
sets of contours as 70
80
80
90
shown. It represents 90
90
a dip in a ridge or
100
110
the junction of two
ridges. And in the
case of a mountain Line passing through the
range ,it takes the saddles and summits gives
water shed line.
form of a pass .
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METHODS OF CONTOURING
There are mainly two methods of locating contours:(1)Direct Method and (2) Indirect Method.

Direct Method:
In this method, the contours to
be located are directly traced out
in the field by locating and
marking a number of points on
each contour. These points are
then surveyed and plotted on
plan and the contours drawn
through them.
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B.M

50
48
46

DIRECT METHOD OF
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METHODS OF CONTOURING
Direct Method:
This

## method is most accurate but very slow

and tedious as a lot of time is wasted in
searching points of the same elevation for a
contour.
This

## is suitable for small area and where great

accuracy is required
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established near the area to be surveyed with
reference to a permanent B.M by fly leveling.
The level is then set up in such a position so that
the maximum number of points can be
commanded from the instrument station. The
height of instrument is determined by taking a
back sight on the B.M. and adding it to the R.L.
of bench mark. The staff reading required to fix
points on the various contours is determined by
subtracting the R.L. of each of the contours from
the height of instrument.
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Example:
If the height of instrument is 82.48m.,
then the staff readings required to locate 82,
81 and 80m contours are 0.48, 1.48 and 2.48m
respectively. The staff is held on an
approximate position of point and then
moved up and down the slope until the
desired reading is obtained. The point is
marked with a peg.
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Example(contd.):
Similarly various other points are marked
on each contour. The line joining all these
points give the required contour. It may be
noted that one contour is located at a time.
Having fixed the contours within the range
of the instrument, the level is shifted and set
up in a new position.

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Procedure (Contd..)
The new height of instrument and the
required staff readings are then calculated in a
similar manner and the process repeated till all
the contours are located. The positions of the
contour points are located suitably either
simultaneous with levelling or afterwards. A
theodolite , a compass or a plane table
traversing is usually adopted for locating these
points. The points are then plotted on the plan
and the contours drawn by joining the
corresponding points by dotted curved lines.
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## Direct Method By Radial Lines Lines:

This method is suitable
for small areas, where a
single point in the centre
can command the whole
laid out from the
common
centre
by
theodolite or compass
and their positions are
fixed up by horizontal
angles and bearings.
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70
65
60
55

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## Direct Method By Radial Lines Lines (contd.):

Temporary bench marks are first
established at the centre and near the ends of
the radial lines .The contour points are then
located and marked on these lines and their
positions are determined by measuring their
distances along the radial lines. They are then
plotted on the plan and the contours drawn by
joining all the corresponding points with the
help of a plane table instrument.
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2. Indirect Method:
In this method the points located and
surveyed are not necessarily on the contour lines
but the spot levels are taken along the series of
lines laid out over the area .The spot levels of the
several representative points representing hills,
depressions, ridge and valley lines and the
changes in the slope all over the area to be
contoured are also observed. Their positions are
then plotted on the plan and the contours drawn
by interpolation. This method of contouring is
also known as contouring by spot levels.
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SQUARE METHOD

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## This method is commonly employed in all

kinds of surveys as this is cheaper, quicker
and less tedious as compared to direct
method. There are mainly three method of
contouring in indirect method:
(i) By Squares. In this method, the whole
area is divided into number of squares, the
side of which may vary from 5m to 30m
depending upon the nature of the ground
and the contour interval. The square need
not be of the same size throughout.
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## 2. Indirect Method: (Square Method)

The corners of the squares are pegged
out and the reduced levels of these points are
determined with a level.
100.4

13

14

15

97.60

96.05

94.40

16

98.00

98.00
98,00

10

11

97.45

99.25

98.75

99.40

12

98.65

99.60

97.80

89.55

98.0
99.0

99.0
100.90

1
2
3
4
SQURES LAID ON GROUND

99.70

99.85

98.45

CONTOURS INTERPOLATED

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## 2. Indirect Method: (Square Method)

The
important
points within the
squares may be
taken when required
and
located
by
measurements from
the corners. The
squares are plotted
and the reduced
levels of the corners
are written on the
plan.

100.4

97.60

96.05

94.40

98.00

98.00
98,00

97.45

99.25

98.65

99.60

98.75

97.80

99.40

89.55

98.0
99.0

99.0
100.90

99.70

99.85

98.45

SQUARE METHOD

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2. Indirect Method:
By Cross- Sections: This method is most suitable for
the survey of long narrow strips such as a road,
railway or canal etc.
RD 580 70.6

RD 560 70.8

70

69.1

69

70.2

69

68.8

69.1

69.1

70

70.8

70.4

70.5
71

71.2
RD 540
70.8

O
66.3 SSI
RE
P
67
DE

70.8

70.6
71

68

69
RD 520 71.6

71.2

70.6

70

71

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71

72.4

71.7

## Fig. X-Section Method

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2. Indirect Method:
By Cross- Sections: This method is most suitable
for the surveys of long narrow strips such as a
road, railway or canal etc. Cross sections are
run transverse to the centre line of the work and
representative points are marked along the lines
of cross-section. The cross-section lines need not
necessarily be at right angles to the centre line
of the work. This may be inclined at any angle
to the centre line if necessary. The spacing of the
cross-sections depends upon the topography of
the country and the nature of the survey.
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2. Indirect Method:
By Cross- Sections:
The common value is 20 to 30 m in
hilly country and 100m in flat country. The
levels of the points along the section lines are
plotted on the plan and the contours are then
interpolated as usual as shown in the fig.

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2. Indirect Method:

## A techeometer is a transit theodolite having a

diaphragm fitted with two stadia wires, one above
and other below the central wire. The horizontal
distance between the instrument and staff station
may be determined by multiplying the difference of
with the stadia constant of the instrument, which is
usually 100.Thus the techeometer is used for both the
vertical as well as horizontal measurements.
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2. Indirect Method:
iii) By Tacheometric method (contd):
This method is most suitable in hilly areas as the
number of stations which can be commanded by a
techeometer is far more than those by a level and thus
the number of instrument settings are considerably
reduced. A number of radial lines are laid out at a
known angular interval and representative points are
marked by pegs along these radial lines. Their
elevations and distances are then calculated and plotted
on the plan and the contour lines are then interpolated.

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INTERPOLATION OF CONTOURS
The process of spacing the
contours proportionally between the plotted
ground points is termed as interpolation
of contours .
This becomes necessary in the case
of indirect contouring as only the spot
levels are taken in this method.
While interpolation of contours the ground
between any two points is assumed to be
uniformly sloping.
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INTERPOLATION OF CONTOURS
There are three main methods of interpolation:
i) By Estimation: The position of the contour
points between ground - points are
estimated roughly and the contours are
then drawn through these points. This is a
rough method and is suitable for small scale
maps.
ii) By arithmetical calculation: This is very
tedious but accurate method and is used for
small areas where accurate results are
necessary. The contours are interpolated as
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INTERPOLATION OF CONTOURS
ii) By arithmetical calculation:
Suppose A and B are two points at a distance
of 30 m and the reduced level of A and B are 25.45m and
27.54m respectively .Taking the contour interval as 1m,
26 and 27 m contours may be interpolated in between A
and B. The difference of level between A and B is
2.09m.the difference of level between A and 26m,and A
and 27m is 0.55mand 1.55 m respectively.
Therefore the horizontal distance between A and 26 m
contour =0.55/2.09 x 30m and
Between A and 27 m contour =1.55/2.09 x 30m.
These distances are then plotted to scale on the map.
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INTERPOLATION OF CONTOURS
Graphical method of (iii) By Graphical method:
interpolation
is
simpler as compared
to
arithmetical
method and also the
results obtained are
accurate. Out of
several
graphical
methods, the most
common is as given
below:

65
B

62.5m

60

55

60m

55m

A 51.5m
50

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Graphical
method:
As shown in the fig. suppose the contour
interval is 5m, then on a piece of tracing cloth, a
number of parallel lines spaced at 0.5 m (usually
1/10th of the contour interval) are drawn. Every
Suppose it is required to interpolate contours
between two points A and B of elevation 51.5m
and 62.5m respectively.
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INTERPOLATION OF CONTOURS
(iii) By Graphical method:
If the bottom line represents an
elevation of 50m. Then the successive thick lines
will represent 55m, 60m and 65m, etc. Place the
tracing cloth so that the point A is on the third
line from the bottom, now move the tracing cloth
until B is on the fifth line above the 60m thick
line. The intersection of the thick lines 1 and 2
representing elevations of 55m and 60 m and the
line AB give the position of the points on the 55m
and 60m contours respectively and are pricked
through on the plan with a pin.
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## Contour lines are drawn as fine and smooth free

hand curved lines. Sometimes they are represented by
broken lines .They are inked in either in black or brown
colour. A drawing pen gives a better line than a writing
pen and French curves should be used as much as
possible .Every fifth contour is made thicker than the
rest.
The elevation of contours must be written in a
uniform manner, either on the higher side or in a gap left
in the line .When the contour lines are very long, their
elevations are written at two or three places along the
contour .In the case of small scale maps, it is sufficient to
figure every fifth contour.
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## USES OF CONTOUR MAP

A contour map furnishes information regarding the features
of the ground , whether it is flat, undulating or mountainous.
(ii) From a contour map , sections may be easily drawn in any
direction
(iii) Intervisibility between two ground points plotted on map can
be ascertained
(iv) It enables an engineer to approximately select the most
economical or suitable site for an engineering project such as
a road, a railway, a canal or a pipe line etc.
(v) A route of a given grade can be traced on the map.
(vi) Catchment area and capacity of a reservoir may be
determined from the contour map.
(vii) Contour map may be used to determine the quantities of
earth work.
(i)

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HOME ASSIGNMENT
Q.No.1. (a) Define contour.
(b) What is a contour interval and on what factors does it depend?.
Q.No.2.(a) What is difference between a contour interval and horizontal
.equivalent?.
(b) Suggest contour intervals for following :(i) A hill Survey (ii) A city Survey (iii) survey of a dam site.
Q.No.3. Describe with neat sketches the characteristics of contours.
Q.No.4. Show contours to represent the following :(i) A Hill (ii) A Depression (iii) A valley (iv) A vertical cliff (v) A saddle.
Q.No.5. Describe various methods of interpolation of contours.

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